The Esentai Gatehouse embodies the opposing goals of a security checkpoint and a welcome mat to a new mixed-use complex designed by SOM. We opted for a symbol of peace and well-being, to contrast the typical authoritarian Kazak guard station. A winged white structure, like a dove in flight, welcomes guests. This all-glass cube-shaped shelter sits within a reflecting pool, like a melting block of ice surrounded by Almaty’s snow covered peaks. While this transparent structure greets, an underground security facility hums away, providing surveillance of the property and its visitors. At night, the small building glows and provides an iconic landmark at Esentai’s entry.